The title refers to the identities and customs of Turkish Muslims, stolen by the Communist Government of Bulgaria in 1985 in a bid to prevent demands for secession. It’s a backdrop that comes across as even more wilfully obtuse than it sounds, and as such makes the rest of the film difficult to engage with. The narrative is drawn together by the fleeting romance of Ayten (Kazakova), a Turkish schoolteacher, and Ivan (Yordanov), an oddball Bulgarian military officer. It takes about an hour to warm up, but after a bit of a slog reveals itself as a tender and stimulating study of forbidden love.
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